Monday, March 31, 2014

Producing a Storytelling Conference

Two years ago in January, I stepped forward and said, “I’ll do it, if I have help.”  This was during a meeting of the Rocky Mountain Storytelling Board.  I was new.

Ann Harding and John Stansfield enjoy a captivating moment.

What I said “Yes” to was producing the annual conference which is held the end of April or the beginning of May.  I’d never done anything like this before.  I lived 4.5 hours away from where the conference was held.  So I needed help.  Help with deciding who, what, when, where.  The rest of the board stepped in to help.  We pulled it off.

January is a bit late to plan a May conference, but we did it.  And I along with everyone else learned lots.

Things we learned that helped with the 2013 Conference:
Kendall Haven talks about the Power of Story.

  • Start early
    • We started planning at our June Retreat.
    • We chose a Featured Teller early.
  • Find a venue that is easily located.
    • Close to where people from out of town could stay.
  • Network
    • Use social Media
    • Promote at other conferences and events
  • Put out the Call for Proposals and have a committee help select the presenters.
    • Because of networking we received proposals from around Colorado as well as out of state.
    • A great group of people stepped forward to help select presenters.
  • Learn from the Masters of Production
    • I spoke with others who had produced conferences.
    • A good laugh is always fun!
      Loren Neimi gave me some mentoring time, and I read the on-line PRO-SIG guide.
  • Coordinate
  • Stretch and Grow
    • Don’t be afraid to try something new.
    • Be willing to chuck what doesn’t work and keep what does.

We tried a new venue – many years ago the conference was always held at a hotel.  So we looked for a hotel and found one.  We came up with a workable format.  More people stepped in to help with registration, on-site legwork, providing needed equipment…. 

Workshop on Telling Poetry
The 2013 Conference was better attended than the 2012 Conference.  We more than doubled the number of workshops.  We offered Continuing Education Credit as well as Graduate Credit through Adams State University.  We added a Friday night concert and a Saturday evening Salon where we discussed Story, storytelling and swapped a few stories.  Not everything was perfect by any means, but we were on the right track.

Most of the pictures throughout this blog are from the 2013 Conference. 

The 2014 Rocky Mountain Storytelling Conference is coming up May 2 and 3.  We have interesting workshops planned, and Elizabeth Ellis is our feature Teller.  We’ve worked hard to make this a fun learning experience for Conference goers.  We’ve kept the things that worked – the format, the Concert, the Salon, Credit – both continuing education and graduate.  We’ve tried to correct those things which were not right last year.  We’ve added a Resource Area where members of Rocky Mountain Storytelling will have the ability to sell their CD’s and books.  Kevin Cordi has agreed to stay an extra day and help 15 people Play with Story.  We’d love to see you there!

Elizabeth Ellis and her Frog Prince (or maybe just a frog).
This year’s Conference is being held at the Clayton Learning Center in Denver, CO.  Information about the Clayton Center and the Best Western nearby (which offered us a good deal on lodging) is on Rocky Mountain Storytelling’s web page.

Join us if you can!


Lila Henry said...

Congrats on doing it, and on doing it again! Nice to see John Stansfield's best listening face, and Kay Nagash laughing!One of these times I will be there. : )

Stories by Julie said...

Thanks, Lila!

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